Giant Container Ships and Luxury Cruise Ships
Starting in 1970, Capt. Gianluigi Aponte has built MSC into the second biggest container line in the world, and later added a very successful cruise line of a dozen large luxury cruise ships. MSC was a relative latecomer to the container transport industry, as was Maersk Line of Denmark, which built its first container ship in 1974 and is now number one in the world. Gianluigi Aponte was born in Sorrento on 27th June 1940 and raised on the Piano di Sorrento, a sheltered plain with a gentle climate celebrated by the Romans, on the southern Sorrentine peninsula of the beautiful Bay of Naples. On the north side of the Sorrentine peninsula lies the big Castellammare di Stabia yard of Fincantieri with two building berths, which has recently completed several large cruise ships and ferries such as the Grimaldi Mediterranean ferries Cruise Roma, Cruise Barcelona, Cruise Europa and Cruise Olympia, all of 54,310 gt. The stunning and enchanting Amalfi coast is on the south side of the Sorrentine peninsula, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famed for the production of lemons, anchovies, marquetry and ceramics.
The father of Gianluigi Aponte was Aniello Aponte, a partner with the Savarese brothers in the ferry company Navigazione Libera del Golfo, specialising in links from Naples to the islands of Ischia, Procida and Capri. In post-war years, this company owned five ferries, including the steamer Isola di Capri of 1,210 grt built back in 1925, and sailing to the beautiful Marina Grande harbours on Capri and Procida and Porto Ischia on the third island of Ischia. Gianluigi Aponte trained at the Instituto Tecnico Nautico Statale Nino Bixio in Naples and became the Master of one of the ferries owned by his father, operating to the beautiful islands of the Bay of Naples. The ferry company had an office at the Molo Beverello in Naples, next to the Stazione Marittima, where the deep sea liners of Italia Line berthed. Directly across the harbour road from these two piers is Castel Nuovo (New Castle), so named as there is a nearby older Castel dell’ Ovo on the Naples waterfront. Castel Nuovo is a Gothic castle, whose construction began back in 1279 for Charles I and his son Charles II of Anjou. The architects were Pietro de Chaul and Pietro de Agincourt, and the castle features an unusual façade with a later medieval white centre inserted between massive round grey towers.
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